Faithlife Sermons

Jacob in the NT

Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 23 views

Reflecting on the life of Jacob from the NT

Notes & Transcripts | Sermon Questions
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Why So Much Time on Jacob?

Now that we’ve finished surveying the life of Jacob, you might be puzzling over how much time and space this man receives in Scripture
Granted his story contains within it large sections mostly dedicated to his children
Dinah, Levi & Simeon (34)
Joseph (37, 39-45)
Judah (38)
But still, the space given may surprise us, especially as Jacob lives a substantially shorter life:
Abraham, (Toladoth – 11:27) 175
Abraham, (Toladoth – 11:27) 175
Isaac, (Toladoth - ) 180
Isaac, (Toladoth - ) 180
Jacob, (Toladoth – ) 147
Jacob, (Toladoth – ) 147
Do we find it surprising the amount of detail that we are given surrounding Jacob’s life?
Adam, Seth, Enoch not even a chapter despite living nearly a millennium
Noah – 4 chapters
Abraham ~14 chapters
Isaac ~15 chapters
Jacob ~26 chapters
What’s the deal? For nearly all his life, the guy is a scoundrel and certainly no great hero.
What’s the deal? For nearly all his life, the guy is a scoundrel and certainly no great hero.
Would you want your kids to lead a life like Jacob’s?
Would you want to have a Jacob for your neighbor?
Why would God preserve so much about this man’s story for all these thousands of years so that we have more detail about him, his family, his life than almost any other men in the OT – maybe Moses and David would be up there too.

1. Demonstrates the Bible’s Veracity

Who would paint your nation’s founder in a light like this?
Of course, you will find no short supply of nations’ hero and founder stories that are filled with sinful, immoral, rebellious characters.
But the difference is, this is a nation that is going to be ruled by Yahweh
His Law must be the rule they live by
And their founder, frankly, does a terrible job with it
Some people kind of view him as a depressing parenthesis in a line of more respectable heroes: ...Abraham, Isaac, (jacob), Joseph, Moses...

Israel – It’s from him that we get the twelve tribes

Generationally speaking, it’s from his family exclusively that the nation all comes
Abraham had Ishmael and other children, but only Isaac received the blessing
Isaac had Esau and through him many descendants, but only through Jacob comes the blessing
Jacob has 12 sons – and all the nation comes from him

Think of the stories you’re raised hearing about our founding fathers

For the most part, the stories of these men and women are “legendized” and exaggerated as time goes on
In some cases, it’s only when we start to study their lives in more detail as adults that we find, to our great disappointment, that many of these ‘heroes’ were far from heroic in the lives they lived…particularly in private.

Yet here we have chapter after chapter of a man and his family that demonstrate glaring imperfections and failures through and through

“Scripture seems to almost go out of its way to give its ‘heroes’ a black eye.” – Brent Cook
Not a lot of hagiography going on here
One big reason for this (think of the Priests, Kings and Judges) is to create in the nation both
an awareness of how far short from God’s standard their leaders fall
a longing for a man who will finally rule them in total righteousness
I don’t feel like I need to give any examples from the kings, given our study on Wednesday nights
If you read Judges recently, this one is painfully obvious
If you recall from our study of Scripture’s use of the Shepherd last month, you remember the national failure that Israel’s rulers as a whole were.
Even their priests...
Aaron
Deuteronomy 9:20 ESV
And the Lord was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time.
Deut
From the very get go, the priestly line begins with a man utterly deserving of divine judgment:
Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary e. Lessons from the past: The Dangers of Prosperity (8:1–10:11)

even Israel’s High Priest had to be snatched from judgment, according to Deuteronomy. How completely devoid of merit, therefore, and how dependent on the mercy of God was a people whose very High Priest had to be saved from death.

Joshua
Zechariah 3:1–5 ESV
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
Zech 3:1-
Even the good priests stood in dire need of cleansing themselves!
A point which Hebrews will make much of:
Hebrews 7:26–27 ESV
For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Heb 7:

Conclusion:

So as a testimony to the Bible’s truthfulness, we see that from the nation’s founder on there is a deep awareness presented to the nation of the inadequacy of their founders and best leaders.
This is demonstrated even the NT. Who would present their leaders as the bumbling, failing, confused people that we find the disciples to be in the Gospels? The Gospels are not flattering to them. But point of them isn’t to magnify mere men; it’s to present Truth on the way to magnifying God’s Man.

Transition:

But besides just highlighting the Bible’s truthfulness or creating a longing for a perfect leader, Jacob’s story also has another significant purpose:

2. It calls unique attention to God’s sovereign mercy

Nowhere is this more evident in than in that powerful and challenging ninth chapter of Romans:
Romans 9:10–16 ESV
10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Rom 9
You probably recognize the quote from
Malachi 1:2–3 ESV
2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob 3 but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”
Now many would note that when used interpersonally, love and hate often carry the flavor of degrees. We can see this in Jacob’s own life:
Genesis 29:30–31 ESV
So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years. When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
So here, verse 31’s “hated” = v30’s “loved less”
But the great difficulty of viewing the passage this way in relation to God is that with God we’re not talking about a spectrum of love/favor/delight in these two boys/nations, we’re talking about unconditional, sovereign love: a love that is set on someone despite their:
birth order
parental expectations or feelings
moral imperfections of Jacob or his descendants
So how could we talk about ‘more or less’ of this kind of love?
source:
The Books of Haggai and Malachi II. God’s Love for Israel (1:2–5)

But the question is whether this idea of more or less reflects the real and significant meaning of the statement in our text. We do not believe so. The “love” that is spoken of in our text is sovereign and unconditional. It is God’s “love” for Israel. It did not take into account the birthright prerogative of Esau (Gen. 25:25), the feelings or attitudes of the parents (Gen. 25:28), or even the moral imperfections of Jacob (Gen. 25:29–34) and his descendants throughout their history and in the time of Malachi. God’s “love” was in no way conditioned by the moral qualities of its object, but emanated from his sovereign will and mercy. This “love” is undefmable in terms of more or less.

Takeaway:

God does not set his love on us because of our:
pedigree
prestige
goodness, good works or even moral inclination
smarts/clevereness
success
other’s expectation
strength, beauty, likableness or any other humanly recognized advantageous reason
Like God tells Moses, He will have mercy on whom He has mercy.
It is entirely His choice
The reasons behind such choices (outside the mystery of his own will) are not given to us
Deuteronomy 7:7 ESV
7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
Deuteronomy 7:7–8 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
By design, it entirely precludes any human boasting in God’s presence
Ephesians 2:8–10 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Response, what does truth like this demand of those on whom God has set His life?
Humility - this is all grace.
I have nothing to boast about save in the God who gives what I don’t deserve.
When I see others wallowing in their sin, I know and think but for the grace of God that would be me too
Even as we strive for godliness, we recognize that all progress and all giftedness is still only by the grace of God
Gratitude - there really is no more appropriate and protecting attitude than thanksgiving to God. Oh that Ocean View Community Church would be known as a thankful people!
The whole downward spiral of sinful mankind, branches out from the absence of gratitude toward God…it started at Eden and goes down from there.
Romans 1:21 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Without thankfulness you could stand as the most privileged nation on the earth, being led visibly by God’s presence and cared for miraculously day by day with bread from heaven and still complain to such an extent you bring down God’s judgment.
Numbers 21:5 ESV
And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”
I’m still trying to get my head around this, but Paul seems to suggest that thanklessness is at the heart of nearly all sin and thankfulness is the great antidote to every manner of sinful perversion. Consider his admonition:
Ephesians 5:3–4 ESV
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Consider on the one hand the gravity and magnitude of these sins
And it’s as if Paul can pile them on one side of the scale and on the other side he places a single solution/antedote: thankfulness
Do we believe that thankfulness is that important?
Sexual immorality - can you engage in this with a heart thankful to God for his laws and the exact season of life he has put you in?
Impurity - can you go down this path while thanking and delighting in God for His wise and loving ordering of creation?
Covetousness - and thankfulness are mutually exclusive. “The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want…except for that new red iphone....?!?
Filthy talk, etc. - again none of this springs or can spring from a properly thankful heart.
I challenge you on whatever sin you are currently struggling with, or helping others fight, to meditate on the critical role thankfulness plays in putting that sin to death.
While the list of what to be thankful for is probably endless, God’s electing grace is a very solid place to start.
Trust - God is not fickle in the demonstration of electing love. He wants to be trusted, and His love on you and promises like assure you that He deserves your exclusive trust.
Obedience - The outward demonstration of the inward components of Thankfulness and Trust
We love God because He first loved us
1 John 4:19 ESV
We love because he first loved us.
1 john
Hope
We show that love for God by our obedience
John 14:15 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
John 14.15
1 John 5:3 ESV
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
2 John 6 ESV
And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
Pragmatically speaking: If God has set his sovereign love on us, then He has purposed our obedience. We will become an obedient people.
It’s really just the path/experience that our choices are going to affect
There’s a pleasant path (Joseph) and a hard path (Jacob) toward learning this trust and obedience
Hope - what if you were confronting the wickedest of sinners? This doctrine gives us hope. Can someone be beyond the reach of sovereign grace?
Think of a place as debauched and lost as Sodom (or Tyre and Sidon), and then really consider Jesus’ words:
Matthew 11:21–23 ESV
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Now take one of these Law knowing rejectors of Christ, one who’s not just content to have Jesus out of the picture but who makes it his life ambition to stamp out all his followers causing them to blaspheme or be put to prison or death…in God’s own words: the chief of sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15 ESV
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
1 Timothy 1:15–16 ESV
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
Paul is our example, sovereign grace provides us hope as we share God’s news with an increasingly depraved culture. It gave him hope:
Acts 18:9–10 ESV
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
The success of evangelism doesn’t rest in a perfect presentation but in a God who sovereignly calls people to Himself.
One of the things that so puzzles me about the new Calvinism movement
Traditionally the Calvinists were less inclined to embrace pragmatic evangelistic means to draw in crowds
This seems to represent in some way a disconnect between the theology many so powerfully teach and their practice
Well all of us have blind spots, I’m certainly not suggesting we have no need for improvement in the doctrinal consistency of our practice
But I do think the ‘doctrines of grace’ ought to have more impact on the form and manner of our ministry than it seems it’s given

Application:

If God can take a Jacob and bring him, despite a lifetime of inadequacies and flaws, exactly where he wants him and to a place where at the end of his life he’s exercising solid faith in God, He can do the same for us.
No situation is hopeless, God can redeem very messed up lives. It’s part of his glory as our Savior.
Note the grace of God to meet a fleeing, lying scoundrel with unconditional promises (at Bethel, )
New Testament Occurrences: Outside of genealogies, the NT makes a few major points with Jacob’s life:
1) OT indication of the resurrection:
Luke 20:37 ESV
But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
Matthew 22:32 ESV
‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
Mt 22:32
2) One greater than Jacob is here in Christ
John 4
John 4:12–14 ESV
Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
4)
Matthew 8:11–12 ESV
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Luk 13:
Luke 13:29–30 ESV
And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Matthew 8:11 ESV
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
3) The prime illustration of God’s electing love
Romans 9:13 ESV
As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Related then to the resurrection:
Matthew 8:11–12 ESV
I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Luke 13:29–30 ESV
And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
4) An example of dwelling by faith as a sojourner in the land of promises: heirs of the promise but awaiting their fulfillment in the City of God
Hebrews 11:8–10 ESV
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
5) An example of dying/blessing faith of a man who finally learned to acknowledge God’s sovereign choice in all matters contrary to expectation
Hebrews 11:21 ESV
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

Conclusion:

It will probably help us to remember, in light of how we started the lesson, the story of Jacob isn’t really about Jacob…it’s about God. And the same goes for your life too.
By his life we see
The Bible’s Truthfulness and
Our God’s great sovereign mercy powerful enough to redeem any of our situations
God’s great faithfulness - keeps all his words and brings Jacob safely to his eternal home, despite everything running against him
Gives us hope of what God can do in others and in ourselves
Reminds us again that the whole Messianic line was a royal mess infused with divine grace
Should swell our own thankful hearts all the more
Related Media
Related Sermons